leadership, success, career goals
WORKPLACE SUCCESS / 12 December 2016
Successful Young Leaders and Top 5 Traits They Have In Common
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Caleb Buzzas
Branding Intern

In today’s fast-paced world, consumer demand and technological advances are growing at faster rate than ever before. The youth of today are blessed to grow up in the current digital age. Young industry moguls are using their talent and motivation as early as they can, shooting them in CEO positions as early as high school.

The term “young CEO” used to be correlated with successful young adults, but nowadays, even a kid can come to mind. Like me you might think that these youngsters are coming up with some crazy new technology. However, they are doing quite the contrary. They are simply finding success in existing markets.

For example, Leanna Archer. At the early age of 17 years she burst into the scene as the youngest CEO to open on the NASDAQ. At nine years old she used her grandmother’s recipe to produce a specialty, all natural, hair product line. Just six years later she was pulling $100,000 in annual revenue. For the year 2016 her net worth was estimated at $5 million, not too shabby for a high school senior.

Another young gun is Robert Nay. Unlike beauty products, which have been around for thousands of years, Nay dove head first into a much newer market. Every played Bubble Ball?  The game app saw two million downloads two weeks into its lauch, snatching the throne for number one app in the free app store. The game they bumped into second? Angry Birds. That isn’t even the craziest part, Robert Nay was 14 when Bubble Ball launched and it was his first development. Today his company, Nay Games, is valued at around $2 million and that number is expected to keep growing.

These are just two of the countless examples of young guns making a huge splash in the business world. But the question remains, what qualities do they all seem to share?

1. Pursuit of Passion

Every success story I researched stemmed from doing something fun and personal use. Robert Nay designed a game to play on his phone that he could enjoy, decided to share it with the world and the world loved it. They say when you do what you love you’ll never work another day in your life. That seems to be the most reoccurring theme when it comes to success. Do what you love.

2. Listen and Learn

If you want to become a leader you have to know how to listen. Listen to peers, listen to your teachers, and listen to your heart. The world can give you the tools to create anything you want but if you don’t listen the things around you, it will be hard to put those tools to use. Find what you love, learn how to do it to the best of your ability, and make a career out of it.

3. Be Patient

Success doesn’t just happen over night; these things take time. While some are fortunate to see rapid growth early, this is relatively uncommon. Trial and error is you best friend. They show you what you have and what you need. The key is to keep working and growing until the day comes when you’ve perfected your product. It could take months or it could take years, all good things come with time. For this reason, patience is always a virtue.

4. Stay Curious

“Millions saw the apple fall, but only Newton asked why.” Curiosity is a reoccurring trait in good leaders. The desire to explore and grow in your industry is vital.

5. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

When you’re comfortable being uncomfortable, you’re prepared to handle whatever life may throw you. Navy Seals go through “surf torture”, a process that involves linking arms and lying down in the cold ocean until the body reaches early stages of hypothermia. This is done daily before all other tasks. The goal is to force them to stay focused on their goals, despite how uncomfortable they feel. While this is an extreme example, the point is to never lose sight of your objective. No matter how bumpy the ride is.

While these five qualities are only a handful of those found in successful young leaders today, they are definitely some of the most important. At the end of the day success always seems to find it’s way to those who follow their dreams, work hard, and learn as much as they can. Remember that great leaders don’t tell you what to do – they show you how it’s done. If you know what you want, go out and get it